Almost all Austrian glaciers shrank in 2009: report

Sunday 11 April 2010 15:45

Almost 90 percent of Austrian glaciers shrank in 2009, some by as much as 46 metres (150 feet), the Austrian Alpine Association (OeAV) said Friday.

In a report, the OeAV said 85 out of 96 glaciers had shrunk over the past year.

The biggest changes were seen in the Oetz valley in western Tyrol province, where three glaciers retreated by over 40 metres, and eight by over 20 metres.

"The ice is very thin over large areas, so the glaciers are retreating very quickly," noted Andrea Fischer of the University of Innsbruck, who conducted the measurements for the alpine club.

One glacier bucked the trend and expanded, but only by a few dozen centimetres.

Temperatures were higher than average by about 0.2 degrees Celsius in the winter of 2008-2009 and by 2.1 degrees last summer, the OeAV noted.

"This year too, the tips of the largest glaciers will disappear," Fischer said.

"There is a lack of new ice and coupled with high summer temperatures, this will lead to serious shrinking of the glaciers."

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